In the previous chapters of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we found out about the mystery revealed to the Gentiles and Jews through the pen of the apostle. We read about the prayers and blessings Paul bestowed upon his readers.
In the first verses of the fourth chapter we also were made aware of our duties and responsibilities as Christians, to walk in unity with the Jews according to Christ’ love. In the closing verses of this chapter Paul now addresses the admonition, the need for us to walk as a new man, one in tune with the attributes indicative of faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul now shifts his teaching from unity and love to truth and holiness.
He begins by describing Gentiles not in Christ, the tares among the wheat.
“17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:17-19)
Again Paul uses the Greek word “peripateō” which means “to tread all around, to live or deport oneself”, indicative of the journey that is Christianity.
Their hearts hardened, the Gentiles described here choose to be ignorant to the truth As such they deprive themselves of the joy that comes along a relationship with God and more importantly, they deny themselves the of the gift of eternal life freely given to all those who believe in Christ and repent of their sins.
“20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:20-23)
Paul calls on his readers to cast away the “old man” that dwelled within us before we were born again through faith in Christ Jesus. The old man is made up of the things of the world but the new man is of God.
“24 And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Do Not Grieve the Spirit 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “ Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:24-27)
The apostle invites us to put away lying and all deceptions as we embrace truth and holiness in Jesus Christ.
Paul then singles out the thieves among his audience, anyone who has profited from deceitful or dishonest ways. The apostle calls on these individuals to give meaning to their lives as they abide by God’s word and earn an honest keep through righteous labor.
“28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” (Ephesians 4:28)
Here Paul gives out a clue as to what Christians should strive for which is a level of wealth that allows for generosity for those less fortunate. It is no surprise most of us are blessed with opportunities to give onto those in need. This is in tune with God’s perfect plan and an important part of our mission. For Christians to give is not an option, it is a duty.
“29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Paul reiterates the need for believers to seek honesty and truth just as Christ did when HE walked among us.
“30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
The Holy Spirit that lives in each of of us is in deed the spirit of God almighty. The Spirit should not be impacted by actions described by Paul, specially after the truth is made known unto us. When tempted to ignore the Spirit that dwells in us we are called to remind ourselves of the great sacrifice made by God and Jesus as well as remember the promise of great rewards that awaits those who stand firm according to God’s word.
“31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
Paul now addresses anger and bitterness, an issue which is unfortunately deeply rooted among us. No one is fully immured to anger and bitterness, to think otherwise is foolish. Through the love of God and the Holy Spirit that flows from within each believer, we are able to overcome anger.
“32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
The “old man” allowed anger be a part of life while the “new man” rebukes anger and leaves it for Satan and those not in Christ. The new of man embraces kindness and forgiveness.
HAve our lives and attitudes been changed by our spiritual rebirth? What about the ratio of truth versus deception, kindness versus anger?
Through this scripture we are called to reply on the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our mission according to God’s perfect plan always striving for His wisdom through the truth that is found in His word. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through trials,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Fill our hearts Lord with humility, gentleness and your love,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre